You know things are going well at the office when your boss shows up to hand out cheques for $6,000 to you, your co-worker, your team and the rest of the company.
But that’s just what’s in store for every employee at Ross Video next month after the Ottawa-based video technology company hit an all-time revenue record in fiscal 2018. Annual revenues were up 20 per cent over 2017, marking the firm’s 27th straight year of record-setting revenues. Ross Video has previously told OBJ its yearly revenues are in the hundreds of millions.
David Ross, the firm’s chief executive and OBJ’s 2016 CEO of the Year, dropped another big stat during an interview Friday: Ross Video’s profit in fiscal 2018 surpassed the firm’s total net earnings for the entire decade that came before.
“We grew everywhere: almost every product line was up, almost every geographic area was up, almost every market vertical was up,” Ross told OBJ.
“The economy’s been good, but I think there’s more to it. I think we’ve just been getting it right.”
Ross Video’s production equipment is used everywhere from the Super Bowl and other major sporting events to the Oscars and awards shows of that ilk. Ross said the company’s products continue to improve as market demand evolves, making it difficult for competitors to catch up with the well-entrenched, 45-year-old firm.
The company’s headcount recently surpassed 700, and Ross said the firm’s size has allowed it to explore new opportunities with ease. One of the areas in which Ross Video is seeing success is video-over-IP, or streaming services. For example, the company not only helps to broadcast live sports, but also enables the rising phenomenon of e-sports.
“People watching other people play video games has become as big as the Super Bowl now. We’re in the middle of all that as well,” said Ross. “The more streams, the more content and the more content, they need more technology from Ross.”
While much of the firm’s profit is reinvested into the coming year’s R&D and sales budget, Ross said that giving out bonus cheques to the employees does a lot for morale – his own included.
“I like talking to somebody who’s in manufacturing and asking them what they’re going to do with their cheque. It’s like this big found money and it usually doesn’t just go into the bank account,” he said, explaining that many employees opt to spend the windfall on a big vacation or a new car.
There will likely be additional cheques to write this time next year, as Ross Video is expecting to hire 100 new employees in the next six months. Roughly 70 of the hires will be in Ottawa, with the vast majority in R&D positions.
Though Ross hears from his fellow CEOs about the tight talent market in the capital, he told OBJ his firm has been hiring one or two new employees each week with little difficulty. His recruiters tell him that it’s Ross Video’s unique story that sells candidates on the company: The ability to point to a television and say, “I had a hand in making that broadcast happen,” registers with many of the new hires.
That pitch, on top of the new technologies that Ross develops, has made the company a popular prospect for tech workers in the National Capital Region. At this year’s Super Bowl, for example, Ross Video will have a hand in the fan experience graphics on the big screens at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“I don’t think there’s a company in Ottawa that has that wide range of technologies that they integrate together,” Ross said.
Around this time last year, Ross Video was telling OBJ that the company had just reported its highest-ever quarterly revenues. Ross noted before ending the call this Friday afternoon that as its first fiscal quarter wraps up, the company is slated to finish another 20 per cent higher than last year’s figures.
So don’t stop Ross now – they’re having such a good time.